sciss / model

A simple typed publisher-observer mechanism. Mirror of

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Model is a simple building block for the Scala programming language, providing a typed publisher-observer mechanism. It is (C)opyright 2013–2020 by Hanns Holger Rutz. All rights reserved. This project is released under the GNU Lesser General Public License and comes with absolutely no warranties. To contact the author, send an e-mail to contact at


To link to this library:

libraryDependencies += "de.sciss" %% "model" % v

The current version v is "0.3.5"


This project with sbt against Scala 2.13, 2.12, Dotty (JVM) and Scala 2.13 (JS). The last version to support Scala 2.11 was v0.3.4.


You would declare the mixin of Model[U] where U is the type of update sent by the model. The actual implementation would then most likely use the implementation impl.ModelImpl. Observers register with the model using addListener which takes a partial function. In that respect a model is similar to Scala-Swing's Reactor, however being specific in the argument type U. The addListener method returns the partial function for future reference, useful in unregistering the observer via removeListener (be careful not to use Scala's method-to-function conversion for listeners, as repeated calls will produce non-identical partial function instances, so removeListener would fail).

Typically you declare the update type in the model's companion object as a sealed trait. Here is an example of an observed set (included in the test sources):

    object SetModel {
      sealed trait Update[A]
      case class Added  [A](elem: A) extends Update[A]
      case class Removed[A](elem: A) extends Update[A]

      def empty[A]: SetModel[A] = new Impl[A]

      private class Impl[A] extends SetModel[A] with impl.ModelImpl[Update[A]] {
        private val peer = mutable.Set.empty[A]

        def add(elem: A): Boolean = {
          peer.synchronized {
            val res = peer.add(elem)
            if (res) dispatch(Added(elem))

        def remove(elem: A): Boolean = {
          peer.synchronized {
            val res = peer.remove(elem)
            if (res) dispatch(Removed(elem))
    trait SetModel[A] extends Model[SetModel.Update[A]] {
      def add   (elem: A): Boolean
      def remove(elem: A): Boolean

    val set = SetModel.empty[Int]
    val obs = set.addListener {
      case SetModel.Added  (elem) => println(s"Observed addition of $elem")
      case SetModel.Removed(elem) => println(s"Observed removal  of $elem")
    set.add(1)            // observed
    set.add(2)            // observed
    set.add(1)            // no-op
    set.remove(1)         // observed
    set.remove(3)         // no-op
    assert(set.remove(2)) // unobserved


  • 0.3.4 relaxes the synchronization in ModelImpl, making it impossible to create dead-locks by registering or un-registering listeners during dispatch. Note that startListening and stopListening is still called under synchronization, therefore it must be avoided that sub-classes of ModelImpl call into anything locking within these two methods. The synchronization was preserved here to guarantee a strict sequential operation of startListening and stopListening.